Since most of this stuff goes on a baby registry, I want to say a few things about registering. I understand that a lot of people have guilt issues over making a list of things for other people to buy you. Here is the thing, your friends and family love you, and are very excited to help you out with your new baby. They want to buy you something! Particularly something that you will use, and that other people didn't/won't get you. This is why registries exist. The general rule of thumb is that you don't put anything on the registry you wouldn't purchase yourself. If you are going to buy the $600 stroller go ahead and put it on the registry, who knows maybe all your co-workers want to go in together on it. Furthermore, it is important to have things at all price points (high and low). Also, I think proper etiquette for most shoppers is to decide what you want to spend and purchase as few items to get to that price as you can. For example, if you want to spend $50 try to purchase a $50 gift. If you purchase 2 $25 gifts then the person who only wanted to spend $25 is left with nothing to buy (this rule is flexible if there are tons of $1-$10 items on the registry. ) A good registry is key to a successful baby shower, if there isn't enough on the registry you are going to get a lot of items you don't want. Okay I'll move on now.
(To help me remember I'm looking at the new parents checklist from babies r us.)
- Car Seat: I think the infant car seat is much better (and safer) for a newborn than a convertible car seat that covers newborn to toddler. They are very useful for moving sleeping babies to and from the car, and sometimes we would put Colin in it to sleep in the house (usually around 2am when he wouldn't go back into the bassinet or crib.) If you are registering, it doesn't hurt to register for both the infant car seat and the convertible car seat for when your baby outgrows the infant seat.
- Stroller: Your options here are limitless. I really liked the 'snap and go' for the infant car seat because it was smaller and fit in our car and closet. The travel system is great if you have the space. We knew we had the wrong option when we had to choose between the stroller and the play yard for a family vacation.
- Baby Carrier: I preferred the sling variety, Sean liked the Bjorn. I've heard great things about the Ergo and might get that the next time around. I do consider this a MUST.
- Bouncer/ Bouncy seat: While these may seem like they have limited use (generally only up to 20lbs or so) you need a place for your baby to sit that isn't the floor. These range in price from $20 to $190, so you have to do some research and read lots of customer reviews to decide what will work best for you. If you travel alot get one that folds flat (we always missed ours when we traveled because it wasn't portable.)
- Bottles/Bibs/Burp Cloths: How many depends on whether you plan to nurse or bottle feed. I had about a dozen bottles and Colin never really took to them so they didn't get used. However, I kept going out and buying more and more burp clothes because I couldn't keep them clean. I think I ended up having about 20 (remember we don't have laundry in the apt so I couldn't just do a load whenever I needed.)
- High Chair: We used the space saver kind and it had a recline function so I used it with Colin as little as two months old so I had somewhere to put him in the kitchen while I made dinner.
- Baby tub/towels/washcloths: Those little hooded towels are a must to keep little heads from loosing too much heat. The tub you choose will depend on your situation and space. I loved out space saver folding tub because it fit in the sink so we didn't have to bend over to bathe Colin when he was an itty bitty. We could only use it for about 5-6 months because Colin outgrew it quickly. This is a good item to try to borrow from someone.
- Baby Care and Grooming items: Forget the all in one kits. I have yet to find one that actually has good/working products inside. Not having a good thermometer caused us a real scare in the Colin's first day home. So register for a quick read, digital thermometer (the ear kind are unreliable on young infants but work great for older tots), a good pair of nail clippers and a little comb/brush set.
- Diapers/Wipes: Definitely a must have. You choose the variety.
- Baby Monitor: Unless you live in a one room apartment you probably need one of these. Even if your room is next door, you'll need some flexibility at nap time. I've heard people do without. I wouldn't want to.
- Crib/mattress/sheets: You certainly don't need the bedding set if you are looking to save money, but the crib is pretty necessary. I have four crib sheets, and I'm a little bummed that I choose the plain cream ones now that the bumper is off. I purchased one recently just to add a little life to the crib. (Colin didn't notice)
- Receiving blankets: No matter what season you bring baby home in you will need a boat load of receiving blankets. This is another item I kept returning to the store to buy more of.. I think I have ten+, although they don't get much use beyond the swaddling period.
- Clothes: Yes you need them, but you probably don't have to register for any because people will invariably just buy what they like. I have no idea how many you need, I had over 50 onesies in 0-3 month size when all was said and done. Colin wore maybe half of them in the month before he moved up to the next size.
- Toys/Rattles/Teethers: You won't need much for the first three months but it never hurts to pick out a few things you like, you will need them eventually.
Feel free to leave comments about your ideas of what is a "must have". I'll update this post if I think of other things that I might have forgotten.